DEAR HARRIETTE: I have to travel 45 minutes by bus to get to work, and the bus comes only once an hour, something that my boss knows. I came in to work and discovered that the doors were locked. A custodian let me in, but my department was still locked. I checked my email and saw that my boss had sent me an email 45 minutes prior to when I would have had to be in the office (after I would have already been on the bus) that I didn't need to come in today. I found this rude, since she knows my situation, and I had to use my own money to pay for the bus to and from work that day, which was a waste of my wages, as the bus fare is not cheap. Do I have a right to ask for compensation for my troubles? -- Snubbed at Work, Detroit
DEAR SNUBBED AT WORK: Chances are your boss did not intentionally make the decision not to open the office that day too late for you to know. It's more likely that she did not realize that she didn't take her staff's travel time into account. Often, important decisions get made in a vacuum, and some things that should be obvious are overlooked. This does not make your boss's actions right; however, it can explain how such a thing could have happened.
I think it is fair for you to mention to your boss that you did not get the message in time and you came to work unnecessarily. You can say how much your commute costs and ask if you could possibly be reimbursed. By asking in a humble way, you create space for your boss to apologize and give you the money that you spent.